Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Slip-on Potholder

       I've always preferred to reach for an oven mitt rather than a potholder in my kitchen. But we've been asked for potholders to match our aprons enough times that I thought I would give them a try.
      I don't really like the idea of sewing all that bias tape trim that I see on most potholders, so I played around a bit with designing something different. I decided on a sandwich method of construction where I pile up the layers, sandwich them wrong side out, sew around the square and turn it right side out. No need for bias tape trim. But it seemed a little dull to me. How could I make it more interesting? With hand grips on the back! That way I can have fun adding other colors and fabrics (and the part of me that really wants to be able to slip my hand into an oven mitt for more protection and a better grip is happy.)   
 Here's my first go at a tutorial - sharing my slip-on potholders with you. These potholders make a wonderful, easy project for beginning sewers. I wish I had this project when I was introducing machine sewing to eighth graders at our Waldorf School. They are a marvelous way to put your fabric scraps to good use. Plus, they are a great gift for holiday giving, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, or maybe just a gift to yourself, replacing those grungy old potholders in your kitchen.

What you need:

  •  8” square fabric for the front
  •  8” square fabric for the back
  •  Two 8” squares of fabric for the hand grips
  • Two 8” squares of insulation. I use one layer of 100% cotton batting and a layer of Insul-bright. This is a heat resistant polyester layer available at Joanns. You could also use two layers of cotton batting or maybe repurpose heavy wool coats, old worn blankets, etc.
  •  4” of bias tape (stitched closed) or ribbon for the hanging

     Begin by cutting your six 8”squares. Using a cutting mat, a rotary cutter and a measuring grid, will make this part so much easier. If you have the material for more than one, it is easy to cut multiples. Once you have cut your pieces, you are almost half way finished.

       Next, the back. Take your two squares that will become your hand grips and fold them on the diagonal so they form two triangles. Press.

       Making your hand grips on the back. Lay your two folded triangle pieces onto the right side of your back square. Make sure the two folded ends meet along the diagonal of the square. Attach these two triangles to your back square using a basting stitch leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.

          Now to build your sandwich. First, the insulating layers. Think of these as the bread of your sandwich. Place your two layers of insulation side by side. (If you are using Insul-Bright, make sure the shinier, heat resistance side is facing up) You are ready for the innards. Take your top piece. Put a pin at the corner you want to be the top of the potholder where you want your hanging loop to be. Place your top fabric piece right side up on the Insul-Bright or cotton layer. Take your assembled square for your back and place it right side up on the other layer of insulation.

      Assembling your sandwich. Take both your top half and bottom half and sandwich them together with right sides facing each other in the middle. Make sure the diagonal opening for the hand grips lines up with the top. When you've built your sandwich, you should be looking at the two layers of batting on the outside of your sandwich. You may notice my little porcupine buddy watching out for me here. That little porcupine pincushion just may be my next tutorial.

      On to the sewing. Pin one side of your sandwich ending where you placed the pin for the top. Leaving a 3/8” seam allowance, sew one side of your sandwich ending with the pin for the top.

     Adding your hanging loop. Take your bias tape or ribbon for your hanging loop and fold it in half. Open up your sandwich and slide your folded hanging loop right up to the seam you just finished where you marked your top. Now close up your sandwich and securing the hanging loop with your seam, finish sewing the other three sides, leaving a 3 ½” inch opening in the middle of your last side for turning right side out.

     Trim the corners to reduce the bulk. You will be glad you did.

     The fun part - turn your potholder right side out through the 3 1/2” opening. When you have it right side out, you can stick your fingers into the corners to get them as sharp as you can. Sew an edge stitch all along the outside edge to give your potholder a nice finish and close up the opening.


    Sew one more layer of stitching ¾” from the outside edge. Voila! A lovely new potholder which looks so nice you just might have to hang it up by the loop for all to see. 

   The potholder I just finished matches my favorite aprons in the shop: the Reversible Apron in Everglades Stripes and the Vintage Apron in Everglades Stripes.  So now it is your turn. See what you can cook up at your sewing machine.
     Feel free to share this post with others, but kindly link the post back to our blog: www.bluestarvermont.com


meaghan said...

amazing tutorial. thank you. so creative, straightforward, and inspiring. will try to make this but might just buy one of your beautiful aprons ahead of time for even more inspiration. thank you.

Natashalh said...

My dad is still using a pot holder I made him 20 years ago! I just wanted to let you know I featured your tutorial in a Father's Day craft idea post on my blog. You can find it here!

Blue Star Vermont said...

Natashalh, you made one remarkable potholder. Good for you. Good for your Dad. Thanks for including our tutorial on a your fun collection of DYI Father's Day gift ideas. I enjoyed discovering your blog.

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